Posted by: Barry Bickmore | June 1, 2014

Inspector Steyn is Looking for a Clue

Great news in the Mann v. National Review et al. case!  Are you ready?  Defendant Mark Steyn has finally figured out what the case is about!

In my current case, global warm-monger Michael E Mann is suing me for defamation for calling his famous climate-change “hockey stick” fraudulent.

Yes!  Yes!  Mann is suing Steyn and co. for saying his “hockey stick” paleoclimate reconstruction was fraudulently manipulated for political ends, even after multiple official inquiries (including one by the National Academy of Science) exonerated Mann of any wrongdoing.  Compare that with what Steyn was saying the case was about a few months ago.

In a post at NATIONAL REVIEW’s website, I mocked Dr. Michael Mann, the celebrated global warm-monger, and his ‘hockey stick,’ the most famous of all the late-Nineties global-warming climate models to which dull, uncooperative 21st-century reality has failed to live up. So he sued.  [Click here for full article.]

No, Lambkin, you aren’t being sued for “mocking” anyone.  You are being sued for falsely accusing someone of a specific criminal act.  If it were possible to file a defamation suit for mere mockery without having it summarily dismissed, I would be shaking in my boots, wondering if Steyn would sue me because I mocked his explanation of the Hockey Stick, quoted above.  You see, the Hockey Stick isn’t a “climate model,” and it doesn’t predict anything.  I further explained,

As I have pointed out a number of times, Mann doesn’t even need discovery to show reckless disregard for truth/falsity in Steyn’s case. Steyn went on record recently calling the Hockey Stick a “climate model” whose “predictions” had failed. What possible defense can he have against the claim that he showed reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of claims that Mann’s work was “fraudulent”, when he didn’t even know what the %$@! that work was?

His only real defense is what the Catholics call “invincible ignorance”. That is, he will have to claim that he is too stupid to understand the issue at hand, so no amount of study would have led him to a different conclusion, no matter how obvious.

Perhaps the mockery struck a nerve with Steyn.  You will note, for instance, that my link to Steyn’s nonsensical explanation does not go to Steyn’s website, but to a web archive.  He apparently took the article down from his site, perhaps belatedly realizing that it made him look like a buffoon… and didn’t exactly help his legal prospects.  [UPDATE:  Mark Steyn objects to this bit of speculation.  See my next post for a reply.]

It may also be that Steyn realized the Invincible Ignorance defense was something of a longshot, because now he has fully committed himself to The Defense of Truth.  That is, Mann can’t sue Steyn just for accusing him of fraudulently manipulating data–he actually has to show that the accusation is false.  Maybe by… I don’t know… referring the jury to the several official inquiries that had already vindicated Mann and the more than a dozen subsequent studies that have vindicated the Hockey Stick?  Steyn indicates that he stands firmly  behind his accusations, however.

I maintain it is fraudulent, that it was fraudulently promoted by the IPCC and by Al Gore (as the great iconic all-you-need-to-know image of global warming), that Mann himself is fraudulent (falsely claiming on an industrial scale to be a Nobel Laureate) and that, indeed, even his court filings are fraudulent (falsely claiming to have been “exonerated” by the British Government and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and all kinds of other “Climategate” inquiries that have never ever investigated him).

Whew!  Maybe Steyn didn’t have a clue what the Hockey Stick even was when he made his original accusation, but now that he has that all worked out, he’s SURE his accusation was REALLY TRUE… REALLY.  How can he be so sure?  Well, it’s like this… [crickets chirping]….  Uhhh… I guess it’s not so much that he has any evidence, per se, as that he has a CRACK TEAM OF INVESTIGATORS on the case.  Not only does Steyn have a special e-mail address where his black-helicopter-watching groupies can e-mail him tips about the Mann case, but now he has even hired a mysterious, unnamed private investigator to finally reveal all those skeletons in Mann’s closet.  Oh, the fact that nobody has ever seen these skeletons doesn’t fool Steyn, because his crack investigator can find stuff like that when it isn’t even there.  Be afraid, Michael Mann.  And watch what you put in your garbage cans.

Aside from the best free-speech legal team in the land, we’ve now taken on someone to direct this side of the investigation against Mann. He’s already working full-time on the case – he was in Washington yesterday for the Congressional hearings on the IPCC, and meeting with climate scientists and others. He’ll also be heading to Penn State and other places hither and yon. I’ve been very grateful for your suggestions since I struck out on my own five months ago, and if you’ve any more I hope you’ll continue to send them our team via manntips@defendfreespeech.org.

Yes, Inspector Steyn is on the case, and if he doesn’t succeed in finding a clue, he will at least very likely succeed at continuing to persuade the rubes to finance his legal battle via coffee mug sales and such.

It would not have been possible to take on someone to direct the investigative efforts in this case without your continued support…. If you’d like to be part of the resistance to Big Climate, we’ve brought back the SteynOnline gift certificate, [etc., etc., etc.].

This really gets to the heart of the matter.  People like Mark Steyn are paid to sound very sure of themselves while they tell other Dunning-Kruger sufferers what they want to hear.  If Steyn ever breaks character, and say, admits that maybe he could have possibly worded an article in a slightly less legally actionable manner… or settles the defamation suit out of court… or lets on that he just doesn’t have any hard evidence to contradict all those official inquiries that exonerated Mann… his funds will dry up.  The only option is to never let up.  He has to keep pretending he knows something damning about Mann, and that this is some giant battle for Freedom Of Speech, rather than an utterly mundane defamation suit.  All those conspiracy nuts want COMMITMENT, because that’s the only way the insidious, massive cabal bent on world domination can ever be unmasked.

If it amuses you to watch Shaggy and Scooby posturing about the ongoing investigation into how Michael Mann managed to fabricate data that was later essentially replicated by dozens of other scientists using different temperature proxies and statistical methods, you may want to take a nostalgic trip back to some of my previous posts about a fan favorite at Climate Asylum–Lord Christopher Monckton!  Remember when His Benificence threatened to sue Prof. John Abraham for revealing his many distortions and.. ahem… truth-deficient statements?  And when the suit never materialized, he creepily indicated that he had investigators snooping into John’s finances?  (Oh, and here, too.)  Remember when I told a reporter that Monckton has a reputation for making stuff up, and he started claiming he was instigating an investigation of my conduct by my university?  And then the reporter called up the University and they said there was no investigation, and never had been?  Oh, and don’t forget the time he claimed to have “a senior Australian Police officer” investigating alleged “fraud” by a climate scientist.  Ah, the memories.

My point, of course, is that the vague hand-waving about ongoing investigations has been done to death, so nobody is impressed by it except the same rubes who fall for it every time.  Both Lord Monckton and Mark Steyn will die rich men, because that well will never dry up.

H/T to BigCityLib.


Responses

  1. Sooner or later the case is going to make it to an actual trial (unless Steyn decides to settle which as you point out is a problem for him). He can’t put it off forever. I look forward to the day.

    • You seem to be confused as to who is trying “to put it off forever”.

      Here’s Judge Weisberg’s ruling from April,

      “To be sure, there has been too much procedural delay already in this case… A continuing stay of discovery will impose the burdens of additional delay on all parties, but particularly on Plaintiff and Defendant Steyn, who has distanced himself from the other Defendants and expressed his desire to proceed expeditiously, even if that means the case would go forward only on Plaintiff’s claims against Steyn and Steyn’s counterclaim, with the other Defendants left behind.”

      Steyn clearly wants his day in court.

      http://www.steynonline.com/6260/irony-alert

      • Which is why Steyn filed yet another motion to dismiss, along with a frivolous countersuit for $30,000,000.

        • Steyn did not file “yet another motion”. Remember that the entire case ended up in a do-over.

          “The appellate judges have now tossed out anything relating to Mann’s original fraudulent complaint …

          So everyone is starting afresh with a new judge, a new complaint from the plaintiff, and new motions to dismiss from the defendants. That’s the good news.”

          http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/367069/mumbo-jumbo-beginners-mark-steyn

          • Actually, the new judge had already ruled that the case could proceed because it was likely to succeed on merits, and rejected attempts to get it dismissed based on anti-SLAPP statutes. Then Steyn came out with his ridiculous motion to dismiss and countersuit… based on anti-SLAPP statutes. No, he’s not eager to go to trial, at least not until he has had time to grandstand enough to get his marks to throw some more money on the stage.

            • Steyn never filed a motion to dismiss. You haven’t been following the case very closely.

            • Rick, you are wrong about that. Here is the document he filed:

              http://www.steynonline.com/documents/6109.pdf

              which says:

              “WHEREFORE, Defendant Mark Steyn demands judgement as follows: a. Dismissing Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint in its entirety….”

        • You claim that Steyn is stalling but it was Judge Weisberg who noted that Steyn “…has distanced himself from the other Defendants and expressed his desire to proceed expeditiously…”

          Please explain why your opinion is superior to the judge’s.

          • Well, I AM pretty darn smart.

            In fact, Steyn DID express his desire to proceed expeditiously… and then filed another motion to dismiss. So I actually agree with the judge… and think Steyn is a grandstanding weasel.

            In other posts, you seem to be arguing that Mann has no chance of winning, but the judge seems to disagree. Please explain why your opinion is superior to the judge’s.

            • Barry, Steyn did NOT file a “Motion to Dismiss”. He filed a standard answer and counterclaim to Mann’s lawsuit, with the same boilerplate language that is in every response to every civil lawsuit. He asked the judge to dismiss Mann’s claims AT JUDGEMENT. In other words, he pleaded not guilty.

              If Steyn had filed a “Motion to Dismiss”, he would have filed a document entitled “Motion to Dismiss” and he would have requested a hearing date for a hearing on his “Motion to Dismiss”.

              Steyn is asking for Mann’s suit to be dismissed AT TRIAL, not BEFORE TRIAL.

              Like I said, you should avoid commenting on legal proceedings until you gain more of an understanding of them. In another comment, you claimed Judge Weisberg’s ruling dismissing the Anti-Slapp motion was “a precedent”. Trial court rulings that are currently being appealed cannot be, by definition, precedents. Precedents END the legal arguing about an issue. They are written by appeals courts and have been affirmed by higher appeals courts. In other words, they are the final word.

              Seriously, Barry, you look like a sixth grader in a calculus argument.

            • That would be no fun. In any case, I appealed to the judge’s ruling because I assume he understands the law better than me. Much of what you have said here makes no sense in that light.

            • And by the way, the main reason I say Steyn is stalling is that he has filed this motion to dismiss… whenever that is supposed to happen… that is completely idiotic, and wastes everyone’s time. Free Speech advocate, Steyn supporter, and lawyer Ken White over at popehat.com called it “feckless”.

            • The judge gets to decide if a case *could* be made but the jury decides if the case actually does get made.

              Look at it this way. Mann could have what appears to be an ironclad case but if his attorneys fall on their face, or if Steyn happens to have hired some of the best libel lawyers in the country then Mann loses.

              The judge decides if the game should be played. The players determine who wins.

              I never said that Mann has “no chance of winning”.

        • Barry, did you ever admit that Steyn did not file a “Motion to Dismiss?”

          • I might have been wrong about what to call the document, but reiterated that Steyn filed a document in which he asked for a dismissal of Mann’s case.

            • Yes, Barry, but you did that as evidence that Steyn did not want to proceed expeditiously. His request for dismissal in the answer is standard practice for anyone defending a case. It is not evidence of intent to delay.

            • Unless the motion (or whatever it is called) is completely frivolous. Which it is. Then, it seems to me, it would take the court extra time to process it.

              Anyway, I can agree that Steyn’s main purpose wasn’t to delay the proceedings. It was more likely the “grandstanding” I mentioned. He promised something better than “The Good Wife”, so he has to deliver some drama to his coffee-mug-buying backers.

            • Barry, the main purpose in filing the document is that is what is required to expeditiously move the case forward. If someone files a complaint against you, you can move to dismiss or you can answer. Steyn answered. Everyone that answers asks for the case to be dismissed in the answer. Now, perhaps if you said that the purpose of his counterclaim was “grandstanding,” you might be correct. But not the answer. It is just routine.

            • JK, I don’t buy that argument. The defense had already asked for the case to be dismissed on the basis of anti-SLAPP legislation, and the judge refused. Yet another such document might be legitimate if the defense had thought of some other credible argument, but that clearly isn’t the case with Steyn’s. He simply asked for it to be dismissed on the basis of anti-SLAPP legislation, once again.

  2. Don’t forget Donald Trump’s investigation into Obama’s birth certificate–amazing things were being discovered, but I don’t recall any of them actually seeing the light of day.

  3. Steyn will win.

    • Keep the faith, my friend. And make sure to keep collecting more coffee mugs. Future generations will thank you for preserving their Right to Falsely Accuse People of Crimes. I’m sure that’s in the Constitution somewhere… or the Bible… or something.

  4. What are the damages?

    • Well, we could talk about all the death threats and constant calls for more and more investigations of Mann, but that isn’t necessary. Here is the definition of “libel per se” from an online legal dictionary.

      libel per se n. broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis), or dishonesty in business. Such claims are considered so obviously harmful that malice need not be proved to obtain a judgment for “general damages,” and not just specific losses. (See: defamation, libel, slander)

      • I think the Sullivan case limits the cause of action just a bit from that dictionary definition.

        • There is a large number of… ahem… people constantly calling Mann a fraud and calling for (yet another) investigation. Whether or not it is ruled as libel per se, there is absolutely no question that “damages” can be demonstrated, via statements that fall under completely standard categories for defamation suits. Two judges so far have agreed with this assessment, and allowed the case to proceed.

          • Defamation cases against public figures are very difficult. That’s the current 1st amendment status per Sullivan. Further, if Steyn is an ignorant clown, how could he damage Professor Mann? I suspect it’s a fairly narrow thread that will be the crux of the case – namely what are the damages to Prof. Mann’s scientific standing. Not the damages to his opinions or political arguments.

            Do other scientists think less of Professor Mann due to Steyn’s comments or actions? If you read Steyn’s comments closely, I think he’s trying to make that case, probably on advice of counsel, and probably pretty good advice.

            • Skeptic,

              You are right that defamation cases involving public figures are always difficult, but the standard (since Sullivan) is that you have to prove the defendant at least acted with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of their statements. Personally, I don’t think that will be too hard to prove to the satisfaction of a D.C. jury.

              The rest of your point is off the mark, I believe. Mann doesn’t have to prove that his standing with other scientists has been damaged. He has to prove that his standing with ANYONE has been damaged. It seems obvious to me that his reputation has been damaged among the slavering wackos who keep pressing for more investigations against Mann, and sending him hate mail/threats.

            • Speaking of being off the mark, if as you say Steyn’s statement is libel per se (and it isn’t) then damages don’t have to be proved at all. They’re presumed. That’s what libel per se means.

              It’s almost like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            • Perhaps. If it isn’t libel per se, it isn’t because it doesn’t fit the definition I quoted. Rather, it will be due to Mann’s status as a public figure, which might require him to prove actual malice. Look at the definition again. My point was that the statements made against Mann were “so obviously harmful” that it is stupid to say there was no damage done. Mann can dredge up statements by many, many of Steyn’s fans saying how they believe Mann is dishonest, etc., so it’s no problem for him whether the judge rules it libel per se, or not.

            • You don’t know what “damage” means, do you? Did Mann lose any income, employment, positions, etc.? Has anyone come out and said “I won’t buy Mann’s book or attend his lecture or hire him because Steyn said he’s a fraud”?

            • Rick,

              I’m pretty sure it’s YOU who does not know what “damage” means in a legal sense. A damaged reputation is “damage”, surprisingly. Having to go through constant harassment is “damage”.

            • Nope. Cite precedents. If nobody treated Mann differently because of Steyn’s article, there was no damage to his reputation. And public figures are not allowed damages for “harassment” because someone wrote one paragraph about them.

            • The precedent I cite is the judge’s ruling on this case.

            • Do other scientists think less of Professor Mann due to Steyn’s comments or actions? If you read Steyn’s comments closely, I think he’s trying to make that case, probably on advice of counsel, and probably pretty good advice.

              You don’t have to read Steyn “closely” to see him trying to make that “case”…it’s an obvious part of the posturing. Of course, it is irrelevant to what happens in court, but it’s a useful reminder of the point Barry makes about Steyn’s modus and his dependence on it. He cannot stop the mockery, it’s all he has. Counsel advised it? Really? There is a big difference between those comments critical of the data and an accusation of fraud!

              As to the substance of it, as usual there is none. He cites three grabs on Mann [whatever happened to Bradley and Hughes BTW?] and the data, and spins that into: “I’m struck by how few scientists have very little good to say about him [sic]…”

              Steyn thinks he can talk about climate and politics, but remember all he knows how to do is roll his eyes repeatedly, self-refer, gossip and mock, so that kinda restricts his ability to contribute.

            • Oh and another indicator of Steyn’s ‘usefulness’ is his claim that Wally Broecker “is the guy who,way back in the Seventies, invented the phrase ‘global warming'”. Funny how it appears in earlier work, for instance by J. Murray Mitchell in 1960.

  5. This is just dopey Barry and a waste of your time. Why bother yourself defending a pompous fool like Mann ? Then again, perhaps you have spent too much time in your own Climate Asylum.

    • Max, how can something that provides me with so much amusement be a waste of my time?

  6. if Steyn had used just about any other word than fraudulent the suit would have no merit. With that said, and even though free speech is being diminished daily by political correctness, the right to express opinions, especially about public persons, still makes this case a tossup.

    • I agree, Jim, except that I think another key factor is that the defendants said Mann twisted the data for political ends, clearly indicating that he committed a crime with intent. But the fact is (despite the many protestations to the contrary) that it is anything but a “frivolous” lawsuit. It’s a run-of-the-mill defamation suit, which is always hard to win, especially for public figures, but clearly it deserves to be heard in court. It is therefore also not some great Constitutional Battle. Like I said, this is really standard stuff, which the defendants could easily have sidestepped by adding a couple weasel words.

      • Barry,

        I’m sorry but could you cite a case where twisting data “for political ends” is a specific crime “with intent”. It seems to me that public commentators are constantly accusing someone of manipulating data for “political ends”. Paul Krugman does so practically on a daily basis but I’ve yet to see him or his opponents end up in court.

        • When your work is supported by government grants, and you can be shown to have purposefully falsified your data, you can be in deep doo-doo. That’s why the NSF’s “Inspector General’s Office” looked into Mann’s case.

  7. Re so called global warming
    In New Zealand we have the oldest naturally preserved timber in the world namely the Swamp Kauri
    For over 30 years I have been assisting a Tree Ring Laboratory and Dendrochronolists in recovering Biscuits off the ends of recovered swamp Kauri Logs that are being recovered along our coast also segments of the 3 layers of Lignite embedded in the cliffs on the coast
    What was supposed to be the start of Global warming in 2010 as has been scientifcally found in the Swamp Kauri calendar going back 150,000 years

    has occured 12 times before over this period of time
    What is happening around the world is a natural process occurring every so many years –this is not man made
    Noel Hilliam

    • Write it up. Publish. Collect Nobel. Simple.

      Your “discovery” only contradicts a score or replication. Or, if I’m sceptical, you just might be wrong.

    • Forest fires happen naturally, so all forest fires are naturally caused.

      People die of natural causes, so there is no such thing as murder.

      You get the picture. I hope.

      • I think what Noel is getting at is the unsubstantiated use of “unprecedented” when describing the current climate.

        • Sorry that should be, when the media/commentators/scientists describe the current climate.

        • Colin,

          1. He’s talking about local changes, not global.

          2. He’s talking about timescales that involve glacial/interglacial cycles. We are looking at changes of similar magnitude, in a much shorter timeframe.

  8. “Perhaps the mockery struck a nerve with Steyn. You will note, for instance, that my link to Steyn’s nonsensical explanation does not go to Steyn’s website, but to a web archive. He apparently took the article down from his site, perhaps belatedly realizing that it made him look like a buffoon… and didn’t exactly help his legal prospects.”

    The article is on his website. Which really doesn’t matter since the article starts with:
    “This column originally appeared in the January 27th print edition of National Review:”

    • Thanks, I will make the correction. [UPDATE: I can't find it on Steyn's website, even using the search function. If you have found the article, please provide the link.]

      • Only recently restored.

        https://web.archive.org/web/20140801000000*/http://www.steynonline.com/6017/slappstick-farce

        • I don’t think you understand. The link you gave is to the same web archive I linked to. If you look closely, you will find that the page was only archived twice. The first is the original article, while the second is just a redirect to the steynonline main page. If you don’t understand what a web archive is, go to web.archive.org and look at the explanation there.

  9. Many of Mann’s claims of “exonerations” simply does not hold up to scrutiny.

    http://climateaudit.org/tag/exoneration/

    My favorite is when Mann provided a quote from a British supposed investigation of his work. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that the quote curiously used the spelling “rigor” as opposed to “rigour”.

    Read all about it here,

    http://www.steynonline.com/6111/rigor-mortis

    • Hi Locus,

      I read some of Steve McIntyre’s material, and I have to admit that maybe Mann’s lawyers worded the complaint a little too broadly. That is, ALL of those inquiries didn’t exonerate Mann of all charges, as their wording seems to imply. On the other hand, I find it odd that McI can’t seem to recognize that if a panel exonerates Phil Jones of any wrongdoing when using “Mike’s Nature Trick”, then it has by extension absolved “Mike” of wrongdoing when using his own “Nature Trick”.

      • You’re studiously ignoring the elephant in the room.

        If Mann wanted to claim that the Russell report exonerated him “by extension” then he simply should have said so. Instead he doctored a direct quote, put it in a court filing and then tried to slip it past the judge. And Mr. Potato-Head does all that in an attempt to convince the court what an honest guy he is.

        How does that behavior reflect on Mann’s reputation?

        And I don’t think for a second that this was his lawyer’s fault. No doubt they were relying on their impeccably honest client to supply his own scientific vindications.

        • Locus, go re-read what I said. I didn’t “ignore” it, and in fact I think I **gasp** may have partially agreed with you. I said I thought the way the lawyers worded the complaint could have been more specific, rather than making one blanket claim about ALL the investigations. As a whole, Mann was totally exonerated of any wrongdoing by those investigations. Individually, it varied what he was exonerated of. With a couple minor wording changes, they could have made that clearer. I’m sure Mann checked it over, and he probably should have caught that.

          But given that all those investigations DID exonerate him of SOMETHING, I think your heavy breathing about the whole thing is overblown. All this whining I hear from your end of the field about what a big, litigious meanie Mann is… and how he said he was a Nobel laureate (FRAUD!!!!!!! even though lots of the IPCC scientists thought they shared the prize)… and how he was exonerated of any wrongdoing by various inquiries, but his wording implied that ALL the inquiries cleared him of EVERY charge… all sidesteps the main issues. He was exonerated by official inquiries. The plaintiffs accused him of fraud, anyway, and in Steyn’s case, he didn’t even bother to find out what the heck the Hockey Stick is before doing so.

          By the way, would you care to defend Steyn’s willingness to accuse Mann of fraudulently producing the Hockey Stick, when he hadn’t even bothered to look up what it is on Wikipedia?

  10. If Mann’s hockey stick has been completely vindicated then why has it disappeared from later IPCC reports?

    http://notrickszone.com/2013/10/17/climatology-sees-one-of-the-greatest-scientific-reversals-of-all-time-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-hockey-stick-charts/

    • Because they have several newer, more robust hockey-stick reconstructions? Take a look at Figures 5.7, 5.8, and 5.12 in the report:

      http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter05_FINAL.pdf

      Why should they keep reporting the same studies, when they have newer, better ones? The new ones are essentially within the error bars of Mann’s original, so what’s the problem?

      • The problem is that it doesn’t look like the clearly defined hockey stick any more which is the point of the notrickzone blog post. Fig 5.7 certainly doesn’t look like a “hockey stick” reconstruction to me.

        But what I found most interesting was this quote,

        “The 20th-century trends in proxies may contain relevant temperature information (Ammann and Wahl, 2007) but calibration with detrended or undetrended data has been an issue of debate (von Storch et al., 2006; Wahl et al., 2006; Mann et al., 2007) because trends in proxy records can be induced by other (non-temperature) climate and non-climatic influences (Jones et al., 2009; Gagen et al., 2011).”

        What’s this strange word “debate”?

        • So what? Mann’s original reconstruction had very fat error bars, which have held up pretty well. The idea that the original studies are somehow being swept under the rug is just idiotic.

          Also, tree rings aren’t the only temperature proxy out there. So even if they aren’t an absolutely perfect proxy (and none of them are,) they can still be cross-checked to make sure they are in the ballpark.

          • Oh sure, *now* you people want to talk about the Hockey Stick’s fat error bars. When the stick first appeared everyone was pointing and saying “Look at how stable temperature was until the 20th Century”. I don’t recall anyone cautioning that the error bars on the stick were so large that they could hide the entire MWP.

            Could you show an example of Mann warning that people shouldn’t read too much into the Hockey Stick because it has “very fat error bars”?

            And what about the word “debate”? If the Hockey Stick has been so vindicated then why is the IPCC acknowledging a “debate” and mentioning von Storch (2006)?

            • “You people”? I take offense at this obviously racist remark. ;-)

              Seriously, I was a climate change doubter at the time, so **I** never said any such thing.

              And if all you’ve got is whining about how Mann or whoever didn’t emphasize the error bars enough for your taste, then whoop-dee-doo. His main claims were based on recent temperatures EXCEEDING THE UPPER BOUNDS OF THE ERROR BARS. He could have done the statistics better, but if he had, he would have come to the same conclusions.

              And the fact that there is still “debate” about the best way to process the proxy data just goes to show that some of these statistical issues are somewhat esoteric, so Mann can hardly be blamed for not hitting upon the exact, International Statistical Union certified method, when he was pioneering this kind of work. The method he used got him in the ballpark on the first try.

    • If Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” has been completely vindicated by modern science, why don’t any modern papers reference it?

  11. Barry,

    “He has to prove that his standing with ANYONE has been damaged”

    I don’t agree. The standard from Gertz v Welch says…

    “…tends so to harm the reputation
    of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter
    third persons from associating or dealing with him”.

    It’s the estimation of the community and not just any one, single person.

    • So you think only one, single person has been precipitating all the inquiries, and sending all the hate mail, and propagating all the baseless accusations on the Internet?

      Or are you saying that EVERYONE has to believe the accusations before it becomes actionable?

      • Barry,

        1. You advanced the idea that Mann has to show that his reputation was damaged in the eyes of only one person to pass the first hurdle in winning a libel case.

        2. I disagreed and quoted a Supreme Court case.

        I have no idea of what sort of conspiracy theory you’re on about in your first paragraph. And I certainly didn’t imply that Mann has to show his reputation has been ruined with the entire human race before his case can proceed.

        It’s really quite simple. What I think …. is what I wrote. Nothing more, nothing less.

        • Ok, I see what you mean. I did not mean to imply that a single person is enough. I meant to challenge the notion that only the scientific community counts, which you seemed to be advancing. So let’s stop talking about extreme cases. Can you at least acknowledge that Mann’s reputation has been damaged in the estimation of a lot of PEOPLE?

          If his reputation has not, in fact, been damaged in the scientific community, but it has been damaged in the broader community of non-scientists, isn’t that a good indicator that the charges are probably false?

          • If Mann is complaining about his reputation among the public at large then he is a public figure and the truth or falsity of Steyn’s comments is nearly irrelevant as compared to Steyn’s belief in his comments.

            If Mann is a private figure and only cares about his reputation among scientists and that reputation has not, in fact, been damaged then he wouldn’t have grounds for a libel suit in the first place.

            • You keep forgetting about that “reckless disregard” clause. I agree that it is harder for public figures to win, but sometimes they do. And because they do, this is not some frivolous suit. It is a run-of-the-mill defamation suit, where the defendants made a provably false accusation, which was stated as fact, and thousands of people (as evidenced by Internet comment boards where this is discussed) believed it, to the detriment of the plaintiff’s reputation.

              So the question of whether or not he is a “public figure” only bears on whether he has to prove “actual malice,” which I don’t think will be a problem (“reckless disregard”).

              Your discussion of Mann as a private figure makes no sense. Why would a scientist only care about his reputation among other scientists? I realize we generally think a lot of ourselves, but don’t you think that’s a bit far-fetched? ;-)

            • Barry, you are out of your league when you try to comment on legal proceedings. “Reckless disregard” simply means Steyn knew what he was saying was false. That will be impossible to prove, as Steyn will introduce a mountain of evidence showing that what he was saying is supported by tons of supporting evidence. He has already laid out more than enough evidence to prove he had a reasonable belief that what he was saying was true.

              Do yourself a favor and stay away from commenting on this case until you educate yourself sufficiently to avoid embarrassing yourself.

            • Perhaps you should go back and read my comments from your Flashdance post. I have the sinking suspicion that “reckless disregard” does not mean what you think it does.

              The relevant Supreme Court case is “St. Amant vs. Thompson”

            • That’s (maybe) a good point. A case brief summarizes:

              “In order to prove reckless disregard for the truth, there must be sufficient evidence to show that the defendant entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication.”

              At least in Louisiana…

              But supposing it’s true in DC, I would think this would be something to be worked out in discovery. At this point, I think Mann would have no trouble proving the defendants at least WOULD HAVE entertained serious doubts if they weren’t morons.

              However, the specific case you cite was against someone quoting a third person making the accusation. If the defense is that “Hey, I was just quoting this other guy, and I had no reason to disbelieve him!” then maybe the standard is more rigorous. (This doesn’t help Simberg, and probably not even Steyn, since he added the “fraudulent” icing on the cake.)

              Given that the judge has already ruled that Mann’s case is likely to succeed on merits (which doesn’t mean it will succeed,) I think your argument probably doesn’t hold water… unless he agrees with me that establishing the defendants’ mental states is a matter for discovery.

            • Good Lord, Barry.

              “At least in Louisiana…”

              Are you serious? Reckless disregard is a FEDERAL LEGAL STANDARD, not a state one.

              “Given that the judge has already ruled that Mann’s case is likely to succeed on merits…”

              A ruling that was only made possible by the judge refusing to consider counterclaims proving Mann lied when he claimed exoneration a total of eight times. A ruling in which the judge admitted he could only review evidence from one side of the argument. A ruling that is meaningless for trial purposes.

              You really don’t have a clue when it comes to this subject matter, do you?

            • lol, you still don’t understand that Steyn never filed a “Motion to Dismiss”. Show us a legal pleading from Steyn entitled “Motion to Dismiss”, Barry. Show us a request from Steyn to the court clerk, to set a hearing date for his “Motion to Dismiss”. Show us a response from Mann entitled “Response to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss”.

              Oh wait, you can’t. Because Steyn never actually filed a “Motion to Dismiss”.

              Here is an example of a “Motion to Dismiss”:

              http://www.popehat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/MannAntiSlapp.pdf

              See the words “Motion to Dismiss” in the title of the pleading? Now find me a Steyn pleading with the words “Motion to Dismiss” in the title.

            • Oh, and if you’re right, maybe they will use the “Invincible Ignorance” defense!

            • Rick, you said:

              “’Reckless disregard’ simply means Steyn knew what he was saying was false.”

              Is that why the judge in the Mann case ruled that the jury is likely to find that the false accusation “was published with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard of whether it was false or not….”

              Notice the “or”…

            • Rick, I’m really not interested in your superb command of legal terminology. Did Steyn file a document asking the judge to dismiss the case? Yes he did. That’s what I’m talking about. Is it frivolous? Yes. Ask Ken at popehat. Is it going to make the whole thing take longer? Yes.

              So I’m right about every substantive point, and you are reduced to mewling about the precise terminology for what you already knew I meant.

            • Barry, you still don’t know what “reckless disregard for the truth” means as a legal term.

              http://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/torts/torts-keyed-to-epstein/defamation/st-amant-v-thompson/

              * In order to meet the actual malice standard, the Defendant must have a high degree of awareness of the statements probable falsity. This standard is not measured by whether a reasonably prudent man would have published the material or would have investigated before publishing. Rather, there must be sufficient evidence to show that the Defendant entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication.

  12. Dude, you should learn how to use the Internet.

    http://www.steynonline.com/6017/slappstick-farce

  13. Barry,

    Mark Steyn responds regarding the article you couldn’t find.

    http://www.steynonline.com/6393/polar-bear-faced-lie

  14. Thanks, Barry. Great stuff from Mark Steyn.

  15. […] other day I posted another commentary on the case, in which I brought up the fact that Steyn had explained […]

  16. Hey where can I find a link to the National Academy of Science’s exoneration of Dr. Mann? I’ve decided to try to read on myself.

  17. Hmm, well, a fraction o/t but via Eli (http://rabett.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/frankly-eli-is-bored.html) I find (http://www.popehat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Doe-v.-Burke-D.C.-Anti-Slapp-Opinion.pdf) and if you read on down to p29/30 there is some interesting stuff, in which the court seems to suggest that because the statements made were, or should be to anyone reasonably intelligent, obviously only semi-coherent, *therefore* there was a lack of malice in them; or at least a lack of evidence of malice. Its not quite relevant here, though, just interesting.


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